Financial Glossary – K


Kaikaku – a Japanese word that means ‘radical change.’ It is concerned with making drastic changes to a production system. It contrasts with Kayzen, another Japanese word, meaning ‘improvement,’ which involves taking small steps to achieve gradual change. The Toyota Production System introduced the terms to the West.

Kaizen – a Japanese word, meaning ‘change for the better,’ which refers to taking many small steps to improve a system. However, for Kaizen to work, it must involve everybody in the company, i.e., all the employees. It contrasts with Kaikaku, an approach in which we take drastic measures that affect the whole company.

Kamikaze Defense – a strategy a target company takes when a hostile bidder tries to acquire it. The target company either sells its good assets, raises its debt levels, or buys undesirable assets. Put simply, it makes itself less attractive.

Kano Model – a theory of customer satisfaction and product development. Prof. Noriaki Kano developed it in the 1980s. It classifies customer preferences into five categories.

Kano Model Analysis – an analysis technique that makers of goods and providers of services use to assist in differentiating product and service features. It is an analysis of consumer preferences based on the Kano Model.

Kansei Engineering – engineering that is based on human feelings. Kansei Engineering is a method for translating human feelings and impressions into product parameters. In other words, making goods that are not only technically good, but also make us feel good.

K-Commerce – the trading of knowledge mainly online. In other words, sharing knowledge online and making money in the process. K-commerce stands for knowledge commerce. It is a huge global industry that is growing rapidly.

Keepwell Agreement – a contract in which the parent company agrees to keep its subsidiary solvent for a given period. Usually, this means making sure it can pay back debts on time, has certain financial ratios, and levels of equity. A keepwell agreement boosts the subsidiary’s creditworthiness.

Keller Plan – a personalized learning method in which each learner works at his or her own pace. Students receive learning material in small units. In order to move onto another unit, they must pass an exam. Instructors are more like facilitators.

Keyboard – a panel of keys which we use for writing letters and numbers. Keyboards exist on laptops, communication devices, and typewriters. They also exist separately and are connected to desktop computers. A piano keyboard consists of black and white keys.

Key Employee – somebody who is vital for the well-being of a company or organization. We also use the terms ‘keyman‘ and ‘key personnel.’ If a key employee leaves, the company may suffer significantly. Key employee insurance aims to protect the company if a key person leaves, dies, or becomes disabled.

Key Person Insurance – an insurance policy an employer takes out to protect itself if it loses a key employee. The policy pays out a lump sum if the key person gets ill, becomes unable to work, or gets chronically or terminally ill. We also call it keyman (key man) insurance or key person protection.

Keynes, John Maynard – a British economist, journalist, and financier. He believed that governments should intervene in the economy during recessions and depressions. He insisted that aggregate demand was the driver of economic expansion and employment growth. The terms Keynesian Economics and Keynesian Theory were named after him. He was probably the most influential economist in the world in the 20th century.

Keynesian Economics – the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, who led the idea that economic performance is calculated by aggregate demand (an economy’s net spending). Keynes’ approach was used by several governments following the 2008 global financial crisis.

Keynesian Theory – a school of thought initiated by John Maynard Keynes that aggregate demand drives the economy. He also believed that governments should intervene to stabilize the economy and achieve full employment. Keynesian Theory, which emerged during the Great Depression of the 1930s, turned economic theory on its head.

Keystone Markup – a gross margin of 100% when you sell something. If you sell a product for $100 and it cost you $50, it has a keystone markup or keystone pricing.

Keyword – a word we include in web pages so that search engines can present them in response to a search query. A word that search engines such as Google sell to advertisers. The main word, one that we use a lot, or a word that defines a subject matter. A concept of great significance. In cryptography, we use a keyword as a key.

Kickback – the term may refer to a bribe, the recoil of a gun when it fires, or a physical exercise movement. When it means a bribe or backhander, the payer wants the receiver to do something illegal or unethical.

Kinesic Communication – non-verbal language using our bodies. When we speak, our words convey only part of the message. Our gestures, eye movements, facial expressions, and posture also influence the message. Kinesic communications or kinesics is all about what our body is doing when we communicate.

Kiosk – a free-standing retail unit in a shopping mall aisle or a cubicle or hut that sells newspapers outdoors. Kiosks are also cubicles or stands that provide information or promote something in a conference or exposition. Kiosks provide tourists with information in many towns, cities, and resorts. In the UK, people say a ‘telephone kiosk’ or a ‘telephone booth’.

KISS Principle – the notion that simple things do better than complicated things. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. The term originated in America in the 1960s. The KISS principle is important in business, science, and many other aspects of life.

Kitting – the process of providing a person or thing with the appropriate equipment, articles, or clothing. In other words, getting the ‘kit’ together for shipping.

Kleptocracy – a country whose leader, politicians and public officials use their powers of state to steal money and resources for their own personal gain – to line their pockets. These dishonest people are called kleptocrats. They feather their nests at the expense of the taxpayer and other citizens.

Kluge – or Kludge is a program, system, or machine that has been badly put together. It is typically a clumsy but temporarily effective solution to a particular fault or problem. We use the term in computer technology, neurology, and aeronautics.

Knock-In Option – an option contract that only activates when it reaches a specific price level. It must hit that price before the contract expires. If it does not reach that price, it becomes extinguished. It is the opposite of a knock-out option.

Knock Off – as a noun, it means a product that is a cheap imitation of the original. As a verb, to knock off means to finish work, hurt somebody, kill somebody, or stop doing something (‘please knock it off’). Knock off prices means low prices.

Knock-Out Option – an option contract that deactivates as soon as it reaches or exceeds a certain price. It is the opposite of a knock-in option.

Knot – a tangled mass of hair, wool, or similar material or a fastening made with string or rope. We measure the speed of ships in knots. One knot equals 1.115 miles or 1.85 kilometers. To knot means to fasten a piece of rope or string or to tangle something. Many idiomatic expressions exist with the word knot.

Know-How – the skills, knowledge, and abilities that people have that help them do things. It also refers to our ability to accomplish things successfully. It is the ability of the human brain to perform a task. Know-how is not easy to pass on because it is hard to explain verbally.

Knowledge Capital – refers to the methods, valuable ideas, and other intuitive talents that belong to a company or organization. We also call it knowledge assets and intellectual capital. It comprises, human capital, structural capital, and relational capital.

Knowledge Creation – the transfer combination or conversion of different kinds of knowledge as users interact, learn, and practice. It is a product of the interplay between knowing and knowledge. Companies that know how to promote knowledge creation and manage that information have a strong competitive advantage.

Knowledge Economy – an economy where the creation, production, and use of knowledge are paramount. It is an economy that buys and sells knowledge. Economies of scale and scarcity of resources matter much less than knowledge. The advanced economies are becoming knowledge economies. They were agricultural and industrial economies.

Knowledge Management – the processes and strategies that businesses use to detect, capture, structure, leverage, and share their intellectual assets.

Knowledge Map – a visual aid that tells us where a company’s or organization’s knowledge is. It also tells us where in the company people with the most expertise are located. We also call it an inventory of knowledge.

Knowledge-Based Pay – a system in which workers are paid based on their academic level and individual skill set. It contrasts with a job-based pay system.

Kondratiev Cycle – a very long business cycle that lasts about half a century and includes booms and busts. We also call it the Kondratiev wave, Kondratiev cycle, or the long-wave cycle. Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kondratiev, a Russian economist, first proposed the long-term cycle in the 1920s. He was eventually sent to a concentration camp in Siberia for is capitalist views and was executed.